This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Here are four pieces of advice I learned along the way of keeping productivity high when motivation is low.
Even in periods of low motivation, energy continues to ebb and flow. I took advantage of the times I felt the most energized to create weekly and monthly to-do lists. As Akshay Gupta writes for the site Fearless Motivation, “Giving [your to-do list] an emotional touch will make sure that you take it seriously. To do this, you can write a note at the top of your list.”
If you can’t hold yourself accountable, it’s a good idea to bring in an outside influence. I spoke with some coaches to see if one would be a good fit, but ultimately decided to make a pact with a friend as “accountability partners.” The premise was simple: We’d touch base every Thursday, set three action items that needed to be achieved by the next Thursday, then touch base again the following week to make sure they’d be done. And we’d heighten the stakes, agreeing to Venmo the other person a certain amount if we failed to achieve our action items. It worked.
Far easier said than done, but eliminating distractions is the best way to keep your productivity high. To do this, though, it’s important to understand the cause behind your distractions. Behavioral-design expert Nir Eyal shares in his new book, Indestructible, that we often blame our smartphones for distractions but that without them, we’d find another way to distract ourselves because of an emotional need for distraction. This need is usually a discomfort.
A fix: timeboxing. Eyal asks in the book, “Does your calendar reflect your values?” By eliminating white space in your calendar and planning your productivity ahead of time (using the energetic and vision-board method for to-do lists), you’re more likely to stay on task and be less vulnerable to the usual distraction suspects.
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